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Police use tear gas against protesters at Ukraine's government building

November 25, 2013, 13:06 UTC+3 KIEV
About 300 people are currently near the government's building
1 pages in this article
© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, November 25. /ITAR-TASS/. A fistfight has sparked up between the Berkut police commandoes and Ukrainian supporters of European integration at the Ukrainian government building here on Monday. The protesters started pressing on the Berkut commandoes and broke down the metallic fence. The police used the tear gas against the protesters.

The brawl has broken out when the protesters had blocked the exit from the government building and the Berkut police commandoes started cleaning up the driveway for the cars. The police managed to oust the protesters on the walkway, but the clashes are sparking up from time to time.

About 300 people with flags of the opposition parties Batkivshchina, UDAR and Svoboda, national Ukrainian flags and the flags of the European Union are protesting at the government's building. The participants in the protest action and the governmental compound are divided by the barriers and the cordon of several hundred policemen. Several buses with police are standing nearby. About one hundred more Berkut police commandoes have blocked the entrance to Mariinsky Park.

Sunday events

Ukraine’s police on Sunday used tear gas and special equipment to disperse protesters in Europe Square and Independence Square in Kiev. The local media reported that clashes had taken place between the law enforcement officers and demonstrators.

The Kiev police press service said that the officers had to take measures against the crowd in order to resume motor traffic in Kreshchatik Street. According to the law enforcers, the application for a mass event had declared that it would end at 23:00, local time (21:00 GMT), however, the people stayed in the squares. The policemen encircled the rally participants and pushed them to the sidewalk to free the way for transport vehicles.

According to some reports, two policemen and one protester were injured in the clashes.

Meanwhile, the protesters were throwing at the policemen everything they could lay a hand on. There were occasional scuffles in which the demonstrators were tearing helmets off the policemen. Some protesters provoked scuffles with officers of the Berkut special force unit and threw eggs at them.

Representatives of various opposition groups several times blocked the streets adjacent to Europe Square and Independence Square.

According to media reports, the Berkut unit fighters in Europe Square dismantled a tent that was to originate a tent camp, the rally participants said. The opposition forces had promised to stage an indefinite action by bringing there a large number of tents.

However, the oppositionists then managed to put up several tents - 30 tents were pitched in Europe Square. The State Enforcement Service said its officers had arrived at the site to tell the action participants that under a court decision, putting up tents was prohibited.

Ukraine’s European integration supporters staged several actions in Kiev on Sunday. According to police, more than 20,000 people took part in them. The organisers said that more than 100,000 people had taken to the streets. Similar actions were staged in several other cities of the country.

The opposition’s rally application said that the gathering of the demonstrators in Kiev was to take place in Taras Shevchenko Park from where they marched to Kreshchatik Street along which they went to Europe Square past Independence Square. However, the people moved further — to the government building where they made an attempt to break through a police cordon. The demonstrators tried to break a gate bar at the entrance to the government house, some protesters were lighting flares.

After the declared hour of the end of the action, the protesters were moving between Independence and Europe Squares that are located at a distance of 300 meters. The attempts of law enforcement officers to disperse the crowd in one place was evoking the arrival of demonstrators from other sites to help their associates.

After these events, people were still staying in the streets and the protesters came to the Ukrainian House convention centre in Europe Square. There were about 1,000 of them, mostly young people. The opposition demands to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament). They were chanting slogans, including “We are Europe!” Their demands in the Ukrainian language were alternating with slogans in Russian.

The protest actions were provoked by the Ukrainian government’s decision of November 21 to suspend the preparation for the signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU. The Ukrainian government motivated this decision by the need to develop economic relations with Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CS).

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